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Changes promised as new AD sets sight on championships

Nate Brown
University of Missouri Athletic Director Desiree Reed-Francois fields questions at her first press conference with the school on Aug. 11, 2021.

University of Missouri’s new athletic director says her goal for Mizzou sports is to start winning championships.

University officials formally introduced Desiree Reed-Francois Wednesday with the promise of building a culture across the department to win Southeastern Conference and national titles.

To do that, she says all of the stakeholders need to be aligned in the vision. She credits former mentor and University of Tennesee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt with that lesson.

“You have to have alignment with your board, with your president, with your board (together) with your president, with our coaches, with our student-athletes,” she said. “We all have to be in it together.”

UM System President Mun Choi says Reed-Francois was hired for her vision, experience and tough-mindedness.

“She's going to be making some deep but necessary changes,” he said. “So ‘business as usual’ goes out the window with our new athletics director. She's going to bring that culture of winning back to Mizzou, and we deserve it in the state of Missouri and at this great institution.”

Reed-Francois didn’t offer any specific changes she wants to make yet. First, she plans to meet with more athletes, coaches and leaders.

The football team along with other athletes and coaches have already met with the new athletic director. And Reed-Francois already has a professional relationship with Mizzou basketball coach Cuonzo Martin stemming from their time at Tennessee together.

“We're going to be hard-working, innovative and team-oriented,” she said. “And when we get that culture right - that’s a whole part of a process - the wins are going to come.”

Reed-Francois’ contract runs through June 2027. She’ll earn $800,000 dollars a year.

Kristofor left KBIA in fall of 2021